Craig Warhust

Regulator finds Rattler safe

IN LIGHT of the concerns raised about the Mary Valley Heritage Railway track by one of its members Frank Lightfoot, Queensland Transport’s Rail Safety Regulator sent an engineer to assess the sections thought to be unsafe.

The result was a good one for MVHR with no major issues reported and the all-clear given to continue operations as normal.

The Valley Rattler came under fire after a series of 25 photos were sent to national media to prove Mr Lightfoot’s claims that the track was dangerous and people should refrain from travelling on the heritage railway.

Despite an audit of the MVHR by QT last year, showing proper safety standards were being followed for the type of service offered, Mr Lightfoot accused the not-for-profit organisation for failing to maintain the track and putting lives at risk.

Blogger grumpy_col had this to say on The Gympie Times website yesterday: “This Lightfoot character sounds like a serial nuisance to me. Hopefully he will be hit with full costs when this inevitably gets thrown out of court.

“A hint to Lightfoot. If he has an issue with this, or any other railway operating in Queensland, contact the office of the Rail Safety Regulator.

“One last thing. Lightfoot says he has photos. By his own admission he has trespassed into an operating rail corridor, which is an offence in Queensland.”

Mr Lightfoot said he attached photos in an email to local and national media to highlight the worst of what he observed on the track.

He said the MVHR track had many very weak links with not one section anywhere near full strength.

“Up to 70% of rail fasteners were either missing, in rotting timber, or just hanging there doing nothing. Drains are blocked, ballast is full of silt and water runs on the track,” he said.

MVHR manager Jim Walker said the tourist track was given the all-clear yesterday by an expert in track maintenance and safety.

He said QT had given the line a clean bill of health, but the claims would not help attract tourists.

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